Ad retargeting fuels 35% of app marketing conversions

Jun 17, 2020 | Ad tech

Ad retargeting fuels 35% of app marketing conversions
Globally, 30% of apps now run retargeting campaigns, with 35% of app marketing conversions resulting from retargeting; driving better retention and more revenue, according to new research.

The data comes from AppsFlyer as part of its first retargeting report; The State of App Retargeting 2020 Edition.

As app stores become increasingly crowded, and app marketers find it more difficult to gain the attention of users and drive conversions, retargeting has proven to be a reliable engagement tactic, growing even faster than user acquisition. Globally, 30% of apps now run retargeting campaigns, while in the U.S. the data shows that marketers are adding more retargeting to their mix with an 18% rise, as overall adoption grew 12% this year.

“Global adoption of retargeting continues to grow, rising more than 10% since 2018, proving that it is an effective tool for marketers,” said Shani Rosenfelder, Head of Content & Mobile Insights, AppsFlyer. “With most apps losing 95% of their users within the first 30 days of install, it is no wonder that 35% of app marketing conversions nowadays result from retargeting; driving better retention and more revenue. We still see an opportunity for growth, particularly among gaming apps, which have plenty to gain from retargeting.”

Key EMEA Findings

  • While each region saw healthy increases in its average retargeting share from 2018-2020, Europe led the pack with a 22% increase
  • 50% of Shopping apps in Europe run retargeting campaigns; retargeting conversions make up 50% of their total marketing conversions
  • 30% of users are exposed to a retargeting campaign within the first 30 days of installing an app
  • 130% higher day 30 retention among Casual games that run retargeting in Europe; 117% higher in the Middle East & Africa

Notable US Insights

  • Multiple verticals are leaning into retargeting. Photography apps increased retargeting campaigns by nearly 250% from 2019 to 2020. Shopping is another vertical that has embraced retargeting, with the adoption rate increasing by 25% in a year, and the retargeting share surging 35% from 2018 to 2020 to reach no less than 65% of conversions.
  • Owned media retargeting increased 60% from 2018-2019. Owned media allows marketers to bring users back at almost no expense, which has contributed to its rise.
  • Almost 4 in every 10 apps running retargeting have a share of retargeting that exceeds 30%.
  • Retargeting helps drive paying users. Within lifestyle, apps running retargeting had a 130% higher rate of paying users. Among hardcore games apps, a 298% leap in revenue has been generated by paying users exposed to retargeting.
  • Low adoption despite high performance shows a missed opportunity for gaming apps. In casual and midcore gaming, the adoption rate is only 7-8%, while performance of apps that run retargeting is significantly better (at least 60% uplift in retention and 105% jump in share of paying users).

“As marketers recognize the importance of engagement, retargeting is becoming more crucial than ever to their success, buoyed by the fact that retargeting has shown resilience amid COVID-19,” said Doug McMillen, Vice President, Enterprise Strategy, AppsFlyer. “With this report, marketers have insight into the benefits and opportunities around retargeting, and how to leverage it for maximum impact.”

The Coronavirus Effect

In order to account for the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the State of App Retargeting: 2020 Global & US Trends report looked at two different time frames: a year-over-year comparison of January and February 2018-2020 prior to the outbreak and lockdown, and pre-COVID-19 data from the end of February through April 2020, when lockdowns became the standard in the United States.

The report does not cover the travel vertical, where retargeting has always been in heavy use, since COVID-19 dramatically affected installs and engagement for travel apps, making comparisons difficult.

Largely, COVID-19 has not slowed down the retargeting trend in the US, instead often increasing the practice. In fact, lockdowns caused a jump in app installs, which in turn has led to increased retargeting pushes.

Key COVID-19 US Insights

  • As lockdowns began, paid retargeting conversions jumped 35%, and owned jumped 31%.
  • During this period many verticals found retargeting success, particularly shopping apps, which saw owned conversions increase almost 50%.
    Paid media retargeting conversions also surged, rising more than 30% in April.
  • For more information on the impact Coronavirus is having on the app market, visit AppsFlyer’s regularly-updated report: The Coronavirus Impact on App Installs and Marketing Budgets.

The State of App Retargeting: 2020 Global & US Trends is available at

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